K-State Research and Extension News
Kansas State Climatologist Mary Knapp offers this weekly series of short programs on weather phenomena and recent meteorological events in Kansas.
Weather Wonders
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- 8/15/2014
K-State climatologist Mary Knapp explains how changes in sunlight and temperature affect in intensity of colors in leaves and flowers.                                                

K-State climatologist Mary Knapp compares the various terms used to describe wind velocity.
                            

- 8/15/2014
Does weather affect the frequency or severity of earthquakes?  K-State climatologist Mary Knapp offers the modern science perspective.                                                

It’s during the last few weeks of summer that we can expect to see some of our most colorful blooms in the home landscape.  K-State climatologist Mary Knapp tells us about this unique perennial, and what it may say about the weather weeks ahead.

Have you ever noticed that your favorite weather radar sometimes displays that characteristic “rain green” coloring over your area, even when it’s dry outside?  K-State climatologist Mary Knapp says it’s not a technical glitch, but a little-known weather phenomenon.

- 8/8/2014
If Kansas weather sometimes feels a bit extreme, it’s not just you—there really is a reason for the state’s hotter hots… and colder colds. K-State climatologist Mary Knapp explains how geography and a mix of climate zones give Kansas a unique climate.

This summer has seen its share of temperature extremes…from typical hot days to stretches of abnormally cools days.  But nearly 100 years ago, K-State climatologist Mary Knapp says a volcano led to what was called a “year without a summer.”

Tropical storms originating along the equator tend to be inconsistent in their movements. K-State climatologist Mary Knapp says there’s a simple climatological reason for that.
 

While we’ve had a few hot days in Kansas so far this summer, K-State climatologist Mary Knapp says they pale in comparison to the summer of 1936.
 

- 7/24/2014
Despite a run of hot days recently, this month of July is well short of record heat…in fact, just the opposite.  K-State climatologist Mary Knapp has the details.

- 7/24/2014
The month of August provides an excellent opportunity to take advantage of the wide-open Kansas night sky, and enjoy meteor watching.  K-State climatologist Mary Knapp talks about how to make the most of that.
 

- 7/24/2014
Occasionally, lightning can stray far away from the actual storm.  In fact, as K-State climatologist Mary Knapp reports, lightning strikes can occur even under a fully clear sky.
 

There has been a lot of talk about the unusually cool weather in Kansas this month—but K-State climatologist Mary Knapp says we were a long ways off from record-setting temperatures.

- 7/18/2014
Many of us have seen unusual weather combinations, such as winter storms that combine rain, sleet and snow. K-State climatologist Mary Knapp says there’s another rare occurrence during warmer months to look out for.

- 7/18/2014
The climate element most often associated with the state of Kansas is the wind. K-State climatologist Mary Knapp offers this brief refresher on common wind terms.

- 7/11/2014
With the nearest coast line, along the Gulf of Mexico, about a thousand miles away, Kansas residents never have to worry about hurricane activity, right?  K-State climatologist Mary Knapp tells us why that isn't necessarily the case.

As hot as it may be right now, chances are it needs to get a lot hotter to even approach the state record for the hottest day in Kansas.  K-State climatologist Mary Knapp takes us back to that searing day in Kansas weather history.

- 7/11/2014
Heat lightning has often been thought to be a predictor of severe weather, but K-State climatologist Mary Knapp says this weather phenomenon doesn't carry a guarantee.

- 7/3/2014
A little more than 60 years ago, some of the worst flooding recorded in state history occurred in and around the Kansas River Valley.  K-State climatologist Mary Knapp has more details.

- 7/3/2014
The hottest part of the summer has often been referred to as the "dog days of summer."  K-State climatologist Mary Knapp takes us back to ancient times, to seek out the origins of this familiar phrase.

- 7/3/2014
The words "fog," "haze," and "mist" are sometimes used interchangeably, but K-State climatologist Mary Knapp says that from the view of science, the three terms define three very distinct conditions.

- 6/26/2014
When summer thunderstorms repeatedly roll across the sky during the early summer, some people have been known to refer to them as “monsoons.”  K-State climatologist Mary Knapp explains that the word “monsoon” has its roots in another climate component.

- 6/26/2014
Sometimes, all the conditions seem ripe for some serious storm activity—but nothing happens. K-State climatologist Mary Knapp explains that something called a “capped inversion” may be to blame.

Sure, Kansas saw a lot of rain last month [June], but how does that compare to previous years? K-State climatologist Mary Knapp says it doesn’t even come close to a recent year that many of us still probably remember.

- 6/20/2014
The circular or oval-shaped lights have been reported for centuries, but scientists have yet to nail down a single explanation for what is commonly known as ball lightning. K-State climatologist Mary Knapp takes a closer look.

Some people have long associated high humidity as an indicator that severe weather is in the forecast, but K-State climatologist Mary Knapp says that’s not always true.

- 6/20/2014
Its name goes back more than three centuries—but sailors have been reported seeing the strange lights as far back as the Roman Empire. K-State climatologist Mary Knapp tells us about Saint Elmo’s Fire.

- 6/13/2014
When meteorologists are discussing severe storm radar images, they sometimes mention a feature called a “bow echo.” K-State climatologist Mary Knapp has more on this phenomenon, and what it might portend.

- 6/13/2014
The summer solstice is just around the corner.  K-State climatologist Mary Knapp has the details on what this means for Kansas residents, as well as people living much closer to the Arctic Circle.

- 6/13/2014
There is a saying that “if it rains bubbles, it will rain for 3 days.”  What’s the reasoning behind the saying?  K-State climatologist Mary Knapp tells us about the conditions that cause those bubbles…and what they might mean.

Most tornadoes happen right here in the United States—but these violent storms can, and do happen elsewhere, around the globe. K-State climatologist Mary tells us about one particularly violent outbreak that occurred June 9, 1984.

When measuring wind speed, how high should an anemometer be placed?  K-State Climatologist Mary Knapp says, it often depends on who is collecting the readings.

Some people still use the phrase, “bolt from the blue,” to express surprise.  Can lightning actually erupt from a clear blue sky?  K-State climatologist Mary Knapp explains.

- 5/30/2014
It was during this week, in 1966, that much of Topeka, Kansas was obliterated by an F5 tornado.  K-State climatologist Mary Knapp says it’s the big twister that everyone remembers—but there were other storms that day, too.

- 5/30/2014
We’ve now begun the month of June—is it really too late for a freeze?  K-State climatologist Mary Knapp says outdoor temperatures can, and do plummet… even this late in the year.

Have you ever noticed that your favorite weather radar sometimes displays that characteristic “rain green” coloring over your area, even when it’s dry outside?  K-State climatologist Mary Knapp says it’s not a technical glitch, but a little-known weather phenomenon.

The drought in western Kansas has many people wondering whether there could be another “Dust Bowl” on the horizon. But, what is the Dust Bowl? K-State climatologist Mary Knapp discusses the Dust Bowl era and how dry it really was during that period.
 

El Nino has crept back into weather and climate conversation. But what is an El Nino and does it have an impact on the weather in Kansas? K-State climatologist Mary Knapp says this abnormally warm pool of water in the eastern Pacific Ocean has a bigger impact on coastal states, but can still have an impact on our winter weather.
 

Kansas is often translated to mean “people of the south wind” and anyone who has ever visited the state probably wouldn’t argue. K-State climatologist Mary Knapp says data compiled by the National Climatic Data Center shows there are four Kansas locations that rank in the top 30 in terms of annual average wind speed.
 

We typically don’t see much about volcanoes on the local forecast. However, K-State climatologist Mary Knapp says a large scale volcanic eruption can have a dramatic impact on global temperatures – sometimes for years to come.
 

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